NEWS from THE POLISH AMERICAN CONGRESS
HOLOCAUST DOCUMENTATION COMMITTEE
177 Kent St., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11222 – (718) 349-9689
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Until CNN aired a special documentary on the Warsaw Uprising
of 1944 two years ago, most Americans never knew about
the historic battle Poland’s underground resistance - the Home
Army (Armia Krajowa) -- fought against superior German forces
in an heroic attempt to liberate Warsaw from the clutches of the
Nazis who had brutally occupied it for five long years.
In New York City, a commemorative mass marking the 62nd
anniversary of the Uprising is scheduled for 12:00 noon on
Sunday, August 6th at St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Church,
101 East 7 St., in lower Manhattan. Joining the AK veterans in
the religious observance will be the Downstate Division of the
Polish American Congress along with other major organizations
from the Polish community. The public is invited.
This World War II event is often confused with the Warsaw Ghetto
Uprising of April, 1943 which was confined to the Jewish district
of the city and on a much smaller scale. While 20,000 Jews were
killed during the liquidation of the ghetto, over 200,000 Poles
perished in the 1944 Uprising, mostly all of them Catholics.
"It was bad enough the Germans were killing us. Then we realized
one of our so-called allies wanted the Germans to kill as many of us
This is what Michael Madejski remembers so vividly about the
summer of 1944 when the Uprising took place. He remembers it
because he was right in the middle of it.
"It could have been a monumental victory for us had it not been for
the treachery and deceit of the Soviet army after it arrived at Warsaw's
outskirts. As our supposed ally, we had expected their troops to cross
the river and join our battle against the Germans. Instead, they just sat
there and watched us die," he said.
Madejski is president of the New York State Chapter of the Armia Krajowa
veterans. Each year the organization honors the memory of those who
perished in the Warsaw Uprising as well as the memory of those who
were systematically murdered by the Communist authorities after they
seized control of Poland when the war ended.
The two-month battle that began on August 1, 1944 was fought on the
city's streets, from within its buildings and down in its sewers. It ended
tragically for the Polish inhabitants of Warsaw with a staggering loss of
life. And to make this catastrophe even worse, Adolf Hitler was so
enraged by the Polish people’s anti-Nazi revolt that he ordered Warsaw
bombed and burned to the ground.
When Hitler invaded Poland in September 1939, Madejski belonged to
a Polish scouting group named Zoska. Like so many of the other scouting
groups throughout Poland, the Zoska scouts did not disband but joined
their elders to fight the enemy.
During the first days of the Uprising in August 1944, Armia Krajowa
held a temporary advantage over the Germans. The Zoska battalion
seized the opportunity and liberated 350 Jewish prisoners from the
Nazi concentration camp Gesiowka inside Warsaw. In recognition
of this heroic act, Israel's Yad Vashem honored the Zoska battalion
When the war in Europe officially ended in May 1945, Poland fell
under the domination of Communist Soviet Russia with the agreement
of the western allies.
For members of Armia Krajowa, however, the war was not over. AK
veterans, hated and hunted by Communists during the war years, now
became the peacetime target of the Communists who had taken over Poland.
They once had been the backbone of the largest and most effective
underground resistance anywhere in German-occupied Europe. Now
these Home Army survivors were being jailed, beaten and tortured. Many
were executed as "enemies of the state." This relentless Communist war
against the AK would last another 20 years.
All this was combined with a vicious propaganda campaign against
the AK "that still lingers to this day," said Madejski. "Worst of all, some
of it has found its way to the United States and is continually being used
to misrepresent the sacrifices we made in fighting the enemy.
'Most of the Nazis and Communists who were killing us in Poland are
dead by now. But, their hatred of the Armia Krajowa seems to have
followed us over here and their friends and sympathizers look like they’re
doing all they can to keep it alive," he said.
Contact: Frank Milewski